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PSYC 3402
Shelley Brown

Class 1—chapter #1 (how much crime is there, Canadian Corrections, and theory intro) • How much crime occurs in Canada? – How do we define it? – How do we measure it? • How much crime is violent? Justify your answer. • What does the Canadian Correctional System look like? When sentenced for <2years, placed in federal correctional services (RCMP, parole board, etc) when less than 2 years, placed in provincial (youth, prov police OPP, prov parole) • What do psychological theories of crime have to offer? Class 2—chapter #2 (evolution and biology) • Gain a general understanding of basic evolutionary principles—both general and forensic specific • Who was Khan? Why is he important in the context of evolution? He is said to have fathered hundreds of children. Important because he is known to have had a violent nature. Evolved psychological mechanisms explains that characteristics that increase chances of producing offspring will eventually become a part of the genome. • Misconceptions/criticisms of evolution? Can you name them? Explain them? • Naturalistic Fallacy: the thought that explaining things evolutionarily legitimizes negative actions. • Natural selection being a conscious process, it occurs are gene level. • Determinism: destiny is set for everyone and you are unable to change path. • Can you explain how natural selection works? • Mutation leading to reproductive successselection pressuressuccessful adaptation • Can you define the following terms? • Reproductive success, selection pressures, successful adaptations • What is the theory of evolutionary forensic psychology? Recurring ancestral selection pressures that caused conflicts in the past led to the development of evolved psychological mechanisms that are now seen as crime/anti-social behaviors when certain cues are present(food/mate scarcity, threat to status etc) • What is life history theory? Natural selection created psychological mechanisms that weigh cost and benefits. EG: parental investment vs mating effort, quality vs quantity of kids, self-preservation vs reproductive efforts. • Gain a general understanding of main biological perspectives, MAOA gene research in particular • How do researchers execute twin and adoption studies to study the gene-crime link? Can you explain the research designs used in twin and adoption studies? They compare MZ twins with DZ twins, or they compare twins who have been adopted into different homes to study environmental factors. • Do you know what the main conclusions are from genetic research? • Heritability and environmental contributions? Meta-analyzed research from over 100 studies found a medium effect size for heritability, as well as non-shared environment, and a small effect size for shared environment. So by comparing twins, it would appear as though genes play a large role in development of criminal behaviors. • Can you explain how exactly the MAONA gene-crime link works? The MAOA gene is an X-linked gene, meaning it is linked to the male X gene. It is responsible for processing 3 specific brain neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine). A ‘low activity’ version of this gene has been detected and research suggests that when a child is exposed to maltreatment, it increases the odds that the child will develop violent tendencies, conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder. • Who are Stephen Mobley and Bradly Waldroup? Why were they discussed in class in relation to biology and crime? Both men were charged with violent crimes against their wives. Both used the defense of the ‘warrior’ gene as a reason for their actions. Though Mobley was not success, Waldroup was successful in 2009, being the first to use this defense. • Start to understand how multiple theories operating at different levels of explanation can simultaneously be used to explain the same criminal conduct • Can you compare and contrast at least two different theories? Explain at least one strength, and one weakness associated with each theory? • Can you compare and contrast one distal theory of crime with one proximal theory of crime? • Start to think critically about how research methodologies inform the ‘facts’ • Can you describe criticisms associated with each theory? Do you know if the theory is still ‘hot’? Why? And Why not? Class 3—chapter #3 (learning theories) • Can you describe each theory, how they are similar and/or different from one another? • Psychodynamic Theories: • Fraud: id, ego, superego. Criminals have problems with development of Superego (harsh, weak or deviant) • Bowlby’s Maternal Deprivation: crime is a consequence of maternal separation at youth age (6m-3y) • Does not consider other parental roles, methodological issues, does not consider separated non-delinquents • Gluecks &Gluecks: parenting was primary cause (IQ, drug/alcohol use, abuse/neglect, supervision, lack of warmth) • Not really a theory, parenting shown to not be only factor in crime, cross-sectional studies give correlates but not causes • Hirschi’s Social Control Theory: 4 social bonds promote conformity (attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief) • Gottfredson & Hirschi General theory of crime: lack of self- control plus criminal opportunities=crime, level of self-control related to parenting
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